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Celebrate every moment this spring

April 1, 2021 by Andy Morales, AZPreps365


Canyon del Oro pitcher Trey Weidner. (Andy Morales/AZPreps365)

April 1 is not only set aside for pranks and untruths, it also happens to signal “Opening Day” for professional baseball this spring. The first week of April is the typical starting point for the regular season but the MLB didn’t take the field until July 23 last spring due to COVID restrictions and the season was cut from 162 games to 60. Still, they got to play.

The world is celebrating the “first pitch” for the majors today but high schools across Arizona celebrated that day two weeks ago on March 12 and, for many reasons, that date was much more important. If you recall, the AIA had hopes of starting the spring season in the second week of April last year but an executive order from the Governor’s office closed all schools, including athletics, for the remainder of the school year. Kids did not get to play.

Some teams got four to six games in before the season was cut short but the season was lost for all teams, especially the seniors. In Arizona, high school baseball and softball is unmatched and many of the best players in the country play right here – every year.

We will never know which teams were the best. We will never know which players might have earned a college scholarship. We will never know if a player would have improved his draft status. We will never know which records would have been broken. More likely, we will never know the countless stories of the athletes who struggled for years to be good enough to get one at bat for their high school or to see their name on a lineup card just once. The kids know.

Those days are hopefully far behind us and we cannot live there anymore. The only thing we can gain from those memories is how to appreciate the memories we will build this spring. Every trip to the plate should be a mini celebration, not a chance for discouragement raining down from the stands. Perhaps, this is how it should have always been. Celebrate it.

We caught up with two of the teams competing in the 4A Kino Region Thursday with Canyon del Oro defeating Pueblo at home 15-1. The Dorados improved to 7-0 on the year and the Warriors fell to 2-3. Canyon del Oro is also 2-0 in region play but it’s a (hopefully) long season ahead.

Region play does not determine playoff status in 4A, 5A or 6A but region championships are rewarded in 1A, 2A and 3A at varying levels. The “Big Schools” will utilized a straight 16-team state bracket.

Trey Weidner got the start for the Dorados and he gave up one unearned run with Pueblo taking an early 1-0 lead after Alexi Roman reached on an error and then scored on another to start the game off. Roman would record a double in the top of the fifth and Jacob Vega would get a hit in the third but that was all the Dorados would give up with Lucas Cardy taking the ball in the fourth inning and Blake Lehmbeck threw to the last four batters.

Canyon del Oro tied the game up in the bottom half of the first on an unearned run with Dante Schindler crossing the plate after reaching on a 3-base error. The game turned in the bottom of the second with Weidner driving in two runs followed by two more RBI from Isaiah Pintor and a couple more runs scored off of a triple from Schindler. The Dorados plated eight runs that inning and the team added three more in the third and three more in the fourth for the 15-1 margin. Schindler added an RBI double and Jayden Bracy came up with an RBI triple in the third and another in the fourth. Jacob Charlson added a pinch-hit RBI for Canyon del Oro.

Roman got the start for Pueblo and J. Arvizu took the ball in the fourth.

Canyon del Oro will host Cholla (0-6) on Friday and Pueblo will host Salpointe (6-0) on the same night. Salpointe and Canyon del Oro are two of the five remaining unbeaten teams left in the 4A Conference and the teams will meet at Salpointe on April 6. The first AIA rankings will be released on April 8.